Sunday, May 21, 2017

Shibao Red Pagoda

It is misty this morning. As usual, Steve woke before I did, and I rolled over to see the curtains open and the countryside sliding by. It is rainy and misty and I’m glad I didn’t sign up for the optional outing. Fengdu is the ghost city. I saw it yesterday in the 360 movie at the museum and felt uncomfortable. “Chinese people believe this is where spirits of the dead come to rest,” according to the tour info. The movie showed lots of brightly painted demon images. As someone who believes in spiritual realities, I’m not prepared to casually walk through and say, “Isn’t that interesting.” Instead, I took my tea to the front lounge, had my devotions and prayed for the Christians of this city.

To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name…
Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam…Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans…Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Revelation 2: 12-17)

I have no idea what temptations they face, but I prayed they would stand true.

It rained most of the day. We spent a lot of it in the front lounge with a view of the river ahead.

River traffic included other cruise ships and barges like this one carrying vehicles.

In the afternoon we came to the town of Shibao where a tour of the Red Pagoda was included in the cruise. Steve decided not to go out in the rain, but I was game for whatever.

We went in groups of maybe 15 with a guide. Mine was an English-speaking group, but since the outing was free, there were a lot of groups, a lot of people. We had to walk up into the town (one of those relocated when the dam flooded their land) and around to come across on the red bridge you see to the right. The path was lined with vendors all selling essentially the same thing, none of it particularly high quality, but you felt sorry for them because their fields are drowned, there are no factories here, no other way to earn a living. Our guide said most young people leave.

The red bridge is a suspension bridge called “the shaking bridge” or “the drunken bridge” because you feel like you must have had too much to drink to stagger like that. I heard one woman ask before we returned if we had to go across the bridge, but there is no other way off the island.

The pagoda was built into the cliff 300 years ago.

We climbed a wooden stair inside from floor to floor. Here you see the roof of the entrance and the line of tourists all headed for the entrance below. The line was just as dense on the stairs. I had visions of the whole thing coming away from the cliff and falling outward. It didn't.

Here you can see some of the beams coming out from the cliff.

The upper three floors stick out above the top of the mountain.

The point of the stair in the pagoda was to reach the temple on top the holy mountain. I was surprised to see some of the Chinese tourists prostrating themselves before these images.

The view from the top included that notorious red bridge.

And then there was a long walk down a stone stairway on the opposite side of the mountain and back to the boat for supper.


  1. I want to walk across that bridge! And that pagoda coming out of the mountain cliff looks fascinating.

  2. It was! The bridge...Well, I got across and back without falling, but not without lurching.